By Aram Arkun
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — The Armenian International Women’s Association (AIWA) held its 25th anniversary celebration from September 29 to October 2 at the Charles Hotel with an impressive group of speakers renowned in a variety of professions. The weekend began early with a welcome reception at the Armenian Cultural Foundation in Arlington on the evening of September 29, while the formal conference program began the next morning at the Charles and continued on Saturday, October 1. A banquet that night was followed by an AIWA leaders workshop on October 2 and a reception and exhibit opening that afternoon at the Armenian Museum of America.
There were 35 speakers in panels at the conference on September 30 and October 1 covering a wide range of topics relevant to women. It began with a session on women’s leadership, which included Dr. Sharyn S. Boornazian as facilitator, and panelists Dr. Ani Ross Grubb of the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, Alexandra Pittman, the founder of AVP Global Consulting, LLC, which specializes in research and evaluation for human rights, women’s rights and social justice organizations and movements, and Monique Svazlian Tallon, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Higher Path Consulting and the author of Leading Gracefully. It was followed by keynote speaker Dr. Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School, who has authored several books on management and leadership.
An afternoon panel on leaders in politics and public life was facilitated by AIWA Executive Director Jennifer Phillips, and included panelists Maro Matosian, the executive director of the Women’s Support Center in Armenia and Toufenkian Foundation Country Director, Linda Melconian, the first woman Majority Leader in the history of the Massachusetts Senate, Anna Ohanyan, the Richard B. Finnegan Distinguished Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Stonehill College, and Anna A. Turcotte, lawyer, Westbrook Maine City Council member and author of the memoir Nowhere, A Story of Exile.
The third panel, on leaders in arts and entertainment, was facilitated by filmmaker, director, writer and journalist Carla Garapedian, and included actor and film director Nora Armani, Teni Melidonian, the Managing Director of publicity and corporate communications for the Aacemy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Sona Movsesian, executive assistant for Conan O’Brien of the “Tonight Show,” and Anush Yemenidjian, the Manager of Event Marketing at the Hollywood Reporter.